on Acts 13 :33
Written in the second Psalm - Instead of τῳ ψαλμῳ τῳ δευτερῳ the second Psalm, πρωτῳ ψαλμῳ, the first Psalm, is the reading of D, and its Itala version, and several of the primitive fathers. Griesbach has received it into the text; but not, in my opinion, on sufficient evidence. The reason of these various readings is sufficiently evident to those who are acquainted with Hebrew MSS. In many of these, two Psalms are often written as one; and the first and second Psalms are written as one in seven of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. Those who possessed such MSS. would say, as it is written in the First Psalm; those who referred to MSS. where the two Psalms were separate, would say, in the Second Psalm, as they would find the quotation in question in the first verse of the second Psalm. There is, therefore, neither contradiction nor difficulty here; and it is no matter which reading we prefer, as it depends on the simple circumstance, whether we consider these two Psalms as parts of one and the same, or whether we consider them as two distinct Psalms.
Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee - It has been disputed whether this text should be understood of the incarnation or of the resurrection of our Lord. If understood of his incarnation, it can mean no more than this, that the human nature of our blessed Lord was begotten by the energy of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the blessed virgin; for as to his Divine nature, which is allotted to be God, it could neither be created nor begotten. See some reasons offered for this on Luke 1:35 (note); and, if those be deemed insufficient, a thousand more may be added. But in the above reasons it is demonstrated that the doctrine of the eternal Sonship of Christ is absolutely irreconcilable to reason, and contradictory to itself. Eternity is that which has had no beginning, nor stands in any reference to time: Son supposes time, generation, and father; and time also antecedent to such generation: therefore the rational conjunction of these two terms, Son and eternity, is absolutely impossible, as they imply essentially different and opposite ideas.
If the passage in question be understood of the resurrection of Christ, it points out that the human nature, which was produced by the power of God in the womb of the virgin, and which was the Son of God, could see no corruption; and therefore, though it died for sin, must be raised from the dead before it saw corruption. Thus God owned that human nature to be peculiarly his own; and therefore Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead, Romans 1:4.
on Acts 13 :33
God hath fulfilled - God has completed or carried into effect by the resurrection of Jesus. He does not say that every part of the promise had reference to his resurrection; but his being raised up completed or perfected the fulfillment of the promises which had been made respecting him.
In the second psalm - Acts 13:7.
Thou art my Son - This psalm has been usually understood as referring to the Messiah. See the notes on Acts 4:25.
This day have I begotten thee - It is evident that Paul uses the expression here as implying that the Lord Jesus is called the Son of God because he raised him up from the dead, and that he means to imply that it was for this reason that he is so called. This interpretation of an inspired apostle fixes the meaning of this passage in the psalm, and proves that it is not there used with reference to the doctrine of eternal generation, or to his incarnation, but that he is called his Son because he was raised from the dead. And this interpretation accords with the scope of the psalm. In Acts 13:1-3 the psalmist records the combination of the rulers of the earth against the Messiah, and their efforts to cast off his reign. This was done, and the Messiah was rejected. All this pertains, not to his previous existence, but to the Messiah on the earth. In Acts 13:4-5, the psalmist shows that their efforts would not be successful; that God would laugh at their designs; that is, that their plans should not succeed.
In Acts 13:6-7, he shows that the Messiah would be established as a king; that this was the fixed decree, and that he had been begotten for this. All this is represented as subsequent to the raging of the pagan, and to the counsel of the kings against him, and must, therefore, refer, not to his eternal generation or his incarnation, but to something succeeding his death; that is, to his resurrection, and his establishment as King at the right hand of God. This interpretation by the apostle Paul proves, therefore, that this passage is not to be used to establish the doctrine of the eternal generation of Christ. Christ is called the Son of God for various reasons. In Luke 1:35, because he was begotten by the Holy Spirit. In this place, on account of his resurrection. In Romans 1:4 it is also said that he was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. See the notes on that place. The resurrection from the dead is represented as in some sense the beginning of life, and it is with reference to this that the terms "Son," and "begotten from the dead," are used, as the birth of a child is the beginning of life. Thus, Christ is said, Colossians 1:18, to be "the first-born from the dead"; and thus, in Revelation 1:5; he is called "the firsthegotten of the dead"; and with reference to this renewal or beginning of life he is called a Son. In whatever other senses he is called a Son in the New Testament, yet it is here proved:
(1) That he is called a Son from his resurrection; and,
(2) That this is the sense in which the expression in the psalm is to be used.
This day - The words "this day" would naturally, in the connection in which they are found, refer to the time when the "decree" was made. The purpose was formed before Christ came into the world; it was executed or carried into effect by the resurrection from the dead. See the notes on Psalm 2:7.
Have I begotten thee - This evidently cannot be understood in a literal sense. It literally refers to the relation of an earthly father to his children; but in no such sense can it be applied to the relation of God the Father to the Son. It must, therefore, be figurative. The word sometimes figuratively means "to produce, to cause to exist in any way"; 2 Timothy 2:23, "Unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender (beget) strifes." It refers also to the labors of the apostles in securing the conversion of sinners to the gospel: 1 Corinthians 4:15, "In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel"; Plm 1:10, Whom (Onesimus) I have begotten in my bonds. It is applied to Christians: John 1:13, "Which were born (begotten), not of blood, etc., but of God"; John 3:3, Except a man be born (begotten) again," etc. In all these places it is used in a figurative sense to denote "the commencement of spiritual life by the power of God; so raising up stoners from the death of sin, or so producing spiritual life that they should sustain to him the relation of sons." Thus, he raised up Christ from the dead, and imparted life to his body; and hence, he is said figuratively to have begotten him from the dead, and thus sustains toward the risen Saviour the relation of father. Compare Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5; Hebrews 1:5.
on Acts 13 :33
13:33 Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee - It is true, he was the Son of God from eternity. The meaning therefore is, I have this day declared thee to be my Son. As St. Paul elsewhere, declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead, Rom 1:4. And it is with peculiar propriety and beauty that God is said to have begotten him, on the day when he raised him from the dead, as he seemed then to be born out of the earth anew. Psalm 2:7.